Just Turn The Page

Just Turn The Page: January 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Just Three Words

Just three words sum up 2014 for me: change, loss, and grief. Usually it is just one word, but if you look at those three words, you can see how they connect. The inconsistencies of my postings also reflect how I handled those themes in my life. As I sit home recovering from a second spinal surgery and mulling over what to write; I consider what I learned or did not learn this past year, the parts worth sharing and the stuff that needs dumping, for both our sakes! I also pray about a theme for the New Year. 

Usually around the end of December, I take the time to reflect on the year ending and the year ahead. (I am a little behind due to my surgery). First, I check to see if I achieved any of the goals I set out to accomplish. I did. I make sure I am still on the right track for those lifelong goals. Sorta of. For example, am I staying healthy or did I get off track. Seriously off track. Even though I am getting ready to graduate, am I still learning? Yes. Did I take the time to learn in other areas of my life? Yes. For instance, am I growing as a parent, a wife, a friend, and so on? Yes and I hope so. Or have I become stagnant in some or all of those areas? Yes.
Secondly, I consider how I am doing spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Am I out of balance?  Yes! Are there some things I have neglected within myself? Again, yes! How about my relationships with family and friends? Have I neglected any of those? Maybe, I need to tend to some relationships or mend some broken ones. Again, yes!

I have to be honest; I have not always done this. Oh, I have tried, but it seems every time I try to plan or make goals something comes a long and knocks my goals and dreams out into left field somewhere.

Or I live in constant fear that the rug is about to be pulled right out from underneath me… again (My whole life has been like this!). What this really means is my life is usually lived from one chaotic moment to another. The chaos never stops. I end up just trying to survive, instead of living the life God redeemed. I get frustrated, give up, and just go with the flow. I quit dreaming.
Most military families cannot ever make plans. They must be ready at all times—for the needs of the military, which requires families to be flexible and adaptable. We often joked my husband was married to the military and I was his mistress. All my husband ever wanted to be was a soldier.  Honestly, we didn't know how to be a family. He was always gone. So we waited for him. I learned not to make plans... to put my dreams on the shelf...and tried to stay Anchored in Hope.
Yet, Eddie retired three-years ago. I thought civilian life wasn’t supposed to be as chaotic as military life, but honestly I think the chaos is us —my family as a whole and individually--are still trying to find our way. Who are we now; if we are not a military family anymore? At least twenty-six years of our life was the military! Our life was centered on the military. Now what? Finding a good job has been nothing short of impossible. He took a job that almost pays our bills just to get us through until a better one came along. We are still waiting!
I did not want to be a stay-at-home military wife. I was also a soldier, but I had to get out for medical reasons about fifteen years ago. I was quite literally humbled into learning how to become a mom and a wife--literally. Over the past fifteen years or so, being a mom and wife is all I have done. I love it...and I am glad I still have a few more years left before the last one leaves the nest. I went back to school in 2010 for a ton of reasons, which I share in my post a Not - So -Distant Horizon . Check it out if you haven’t read it! My school journey is quite interesting. I will graduate in May.
However, we are still a little lost and unsure of our future, of ourselves, of who we are, where we are going, and so on. I guess that’s what happens when life abruptly changes in the middle of the journey. We were not planning on retiring for a while. It was forced retirement. All those plans we dreamed about…you know the ones that come after military life…well they ended too. All the struggles of the last few years, the losses, the pain, the confusion and so on... has left me a little disillusioned. I feel as if  I have lost my way...I lost me or did I even know me? 
Edited: Flickr.com V.Hart
I would like to end the chapter of 2014 by throwing it in the garbage bin and setting it on fire; just being brutally honest. In fact, only the grace of God has carried all of us through the year. The confusion that surrounds change, loss, and grief is overwhelming. Honestly, some of it I —we—have navigated fairly well, some of it not so well.
Some of the pains and sorrow of 2014 are carrying over into 2015. At times, I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of depression. Other days, I still think I can conquer the world. Today, I stand on the cliff undecided.
I have decided not to rehash the achievements or setbacks from the year. Some you can gather from my past posts. In 2014, I lost myself, which is actually a good thing. You will discover why in 2015. My husband became lost the day he retired. I probably did too, it just took me a little longer to get there, and a lot more stuff to happen.
I did know early on in 2014 that a lot of change was about to happen in my life. In fact, I started to write about it in my post Tomorrow . Only I thought the change was more external than internal. As if that makes a difference, right? Change, whether internal or external can be either good or bad, always comes with a little punch—meaning it usually comes with a loss of some kind. Change involves endings and new beginnings.
Some change looks negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. Eckhart Tolle
The year ended the same as it started.
BUT that’s not the end of the story. I know this in my heart.
A New Beginning
I know God speaks to us in mysterious ways. I received a package in the mail, not sure from who or why, but in it was a wooden sign. It read:
Never, never, never, never, give up. Winston Churchill
Funny how things happen. How did that person know that I am struggling or with what?  Yes, parts of me is ready to give up. I have reached the end--the end of what I don't know. Me? Life? Chaos? Confusion? Disillusionment?  I know my husband is at his wits end. I couldn't find my Anchor...it felt as if He left me in the middle of the storms. Then I would feel ashamed that I even felt that way as a Christian. I mean we should navigate suffering with a lot more hope and cheery faces. Right? That's the message I am used to hearing.
But still... I hold on. I hold on because I truly believe in, and love my Savior. I also hold on because I believe He is teaching me some things through this time...things He wants all of us to understand about Him and suffering.

I went one more time to my Savior. Tears of grief still roll down my cheeks. Some from my mother, some from weariness, some from ALL the changes that has taken place these past few years that has left me more confused and lost than ever before. Some from discouragement. I am sure some is from the pain from my recent surgery, and only God knows the rest.
 I Prayed

Please give me a theme for 2015, at the beginning not the end and please let it be good. I am not sure I can handle another year of heartache. Still, I know it is His choice. After all, He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

He didn’t give it to many right away, it took a few more days of praying. Then like a soft warm breeze across my face He whispered, “Becoming.”

In my heart, I knew what He meant, because I have been praying and crying out for months. Who am I exactly? I started talking about my journey on learning to 'become me' in my post Reflections: Just Be, but it got interrupted with my mother’s illness and death, surgeries, and a lot of other stuff. Plus, I tend to run ahead. God gives me something and off I run. Maybe it wasn't quite time. Maybe now is the time, because the last few years have taught me so much.

There is a lot more to that question than just understanding my identity in Christ, it’s a loaded question about me—Samantha. Who am I? Can I come to terms with me—the good and bad? Where did I get lost and why?  And a host of other questions.

Also, 'Becoming' is not just about me, it is also about my husband and our family. We are on this journey together. We are individuals, but connected; each one of us are finding our place in this world, the place God carved out just for us. Its about His purpose and plans. 'Becoming' is about who we are in Him.
Follow me into 2015 and together we can learn what it means to Discover the Best You! Because when we do, we find Him in our unfolding story--even in the mistakes, the pain and suffering; including, the times we've doubted, questioned, made the wrong turn or turned our back. HE never gives up  on us.

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